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I was sent an old high school picture by a friend, which by itself was horrifying. But what really struck me was the text underneath.
Earlier this month, Elizabeth Weaver Engel MA, CAE (Spark Consulting LLC) and I were excited to participate in the first Wild Apricot Expert Webinar to talk about our favorite topic: Mission-Driven Volunteering. The session was well-attended and there
were lots of questions - too many to cover in the hour so we created a blog post to continue the conversation.
There is no easy answer to fixing the volunteer pool but the answer really isn’t complicated either. At issue is that our approach is too often reactive not proactive. We look to fill empty seats instead of building an engaged membership. One way to shift gears is to think of this as building a farm team … a feeder system like we see in sports.
An important key to your chapter's success is cultivating volunteers and leaders. Perhaps the most important indicator for success is strong, enduring leadership. This is no easy task. Successful chapters are turning to a different model – one that focuses on developing a talent pool of members who are willing and able to assist on short-term and bite-sized volunteer opportunities.
Halloween can happen any day of the year for some volunteers and for a few it maybe be like living through Ground Hog Day. Oh the tricks we play on volunteers ... let's shift to treating!
I spoke with KiKi L’Italien about association volunteer models for Aptify’s Association Mavens Series. She asked the question “what can a volunteer in the system do to change the system?” The answer: plenty.
Then let’s make it meaningful and fun. Down with boring meetings and down with meetings that we don’t leave with more energy than we started.
In The Future of Data Bo Crader suggests we “Forget about Big Data,” and asks “What does your organization actually need and struggle with? What will make a real impact on your fundraising, service, and Mission?” Like Crader, I find “Smart Data” is “a more resonant term for what nonprofits are looking for today: how can we transform and serve data in a more automated, expedient, and actionable fashion than what we’ve done in the past.”
It’s really human nature to get involved and when we don’t get involved, we don’t have that loyalty or that commitment and so in a membership organization, involvement is going to be the trigger. I have on more than occasion suggested we ban the "V" word as in Volunteer because it causes us (who manage volunteers) and members (who could be volunteers) to be trapped in an old paradigm.
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